The Self as Character: Using the “I” in Creative Nonfiction

Wednesday, August 11th @ 2 PM- 3:05 PM Eastern

Apart from the deeper psychological reason–self-knowledge doesn’t come easily for most of us–writers often struggle with presenting themselves as a character in their essays because they are too close to the content of their stories.

Additional Information

In this webinar, we’ll consider the potential challenges inherent in turning your complicated three-dimensional self into a character in a work of creative nonfiction. You’ll learn how syntax, diction, and tone can help you craft and modulate your narrative persona in order to serve the subject or the situation of the story.

We’ll look at ways authors craft their narrative personas—sometimes very differently in different stories—and how the “I” necessarily takes on many guises in the realm of personal essays. You’ll also learn tips on pitching stories to editors and navigating the ins and outs of the contemporary magazine world.

In this webinar, you will:

  • REVIEW the popular misconceptions about using the first-person in various forms of nonfiction.
  • CONSIDER the virtues of conceptualizing the “I” as a character that can change across different essays.
  • LEARN concrete strategies for modulating your narrative persona in your own creative nonfiction.

There will be time for a Q & A at the end of the presentation.

This webinar is ideal for any writer who needs to present themselves on the page but struggles with conceptualizing themselves as a character and understanding how the “I” can take on different shapes across individual essays.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Course Presenter

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Please Note

It is not uncommon for classes to fill up before the end of early registration, particularly in the last few days before the deadline. If you know for certain that you wish to take a particular class, we recommend registering early. If you'd like to be added to a waitlist for a sold-out class, please email our director of education, Sharla Yates, at [email protected].

Hear from our Students

Creative Nonfiction’s online writing classes have helped more than 3,000 writers tell their stories better.

Read Success Stories


I liked having a structured way to engage with my own writing process, and I liked reading works-in-progress by other writers. I also appreciated the lectures and readings that the instructor put together. Everything was curated with great care.


Education FAQs

  • Will there be closed-captioning or a transcript of the webinar?

    We will provide closed-captioning upon request. Please contact us at least a week prior to the webinar to allow time for scheduling with a captioner.

  • Will I need to install any software?

    The webinar link will prompt you to download the GoTo Opener. For troubleshooting questions, please refer to GoTo Webinar’s support page: https://support.goto.com/webinar

  • What video conferencing program does CNF use for their webinars?

    We use GoTo Meeting. After you register for the webinar, you will receive an email with a link to the class.

  • Is there a preferred browser for viewing the webinar?

    Yes: Chrome tends to work best with the GoTo Webinar software.

  • I’d like to attend a webinar but have a conflict. Will the program be offered at another time?

    Our webinars are usually presented on Wednesday at 2:00 pm Eastern time. We rarely repeat webinars, but we do send out a recording of the program to everyone who registers, and you may watch the program at your conviencence.